Taxi terror too tough for cops - Illegal vehicles proving a handful for policemen and women in Half-Way Tree
Head of the St Andrew Central Police Division, Senior Superintendent Fitz Bailey, has admitted that illegal taxi operators are proving to be a serious headache for law-enforcement personnel in Half-Way Tree.
"I know that there are problems and will ever be problems with those illegal taxis. I know we have problems with taxis in Half-Way Tree, in Cross Roads and all over the place," Bailey told The Sunday Gleaner.
A significant number of the taxis that operate out of Half-Way Tree are not licensed to operate as public passenger vehicles, as they have white plates, and to compound matters, they have taken over several private properties, such as gas stations, which they have turned into informal taxi stands.
"I can't definitively say that they are erecting any illegal taxi stands, because one of the things, once the taxi men see the police coming towards them they tend to move. It is like a cat-and-mouse situation with the taxi men," said Bailey.
The senior cop admitted to having received reports about such unauthorised taxi stands, but says it has been hard to curtail the practice, as some of the gas station owners are accessories to the taxi men.
"Yes, I have received complaints and we have put in several measures to deal with them. But some of the gas stations are accomplices," charged Bailey.
"All I am saying is that there are times when people who work with the gas stations are accomplices to the illegal parking."
Bailey outlined steps that have been taken to try and fight the problem, but said they have not yielded fruit to date.
"I have been to the Rubis gas station personally for enforcement, and it is a nightmare. I was almost hit down by one of those white plate people," said Bailey.
"We have seized the cars, we have actually impounded the cars, and as you seize them they go and pay the fines and they come back."